I found myself making two speeches this month and in both the most important point was that old chestnut, why do we do this. Now I am no spring chicken and that means that I can cycle back to childhood and do things just for the fun of it. But I do have standards. My husband Darwin helped me to focus on the qualities that really attract us in any art work that we admire. We are looking for the excitement of break-though thinking and creation of the differences in perceived reality. We want a glimpse of new horizons, a view of what could be possible.
Many artworks will tell stories. Those stories will define in someway who we are, maybe in the past, maybe the present and hopefully in the future. I continue to be impressed with the quality of art we are now seeing in San Diego. The standard is getting higher and higher agrees Karen McGuire the curator of the William D. Cannon Art Gallery in Carlsbad. On view right now is the 2012 Invitational Exhibition, and McGuire admits it was hard to make a choice of just five from the juried show held last year.
Robert Ecker's paintinga were a favorite of Darwin especially the landscapes right at the entry. I also found these the best of his works as they seem to have focus and purpose which some of the other composition lacked. The technical ability of all the artists was very, very high but that is not the reason that we see such an improvement in the works in the last 15 years. SD artists were always capable of craftsmanship.
Becky Guttin (assemblage) created a field of strange and compelling shapes mainly on stems of metal and using gourds lined with metal filings. She is revisited these shapes that we first saw a while ago. The real revelation is when she groups them together and used her hand to vibrate the stems. All of a sudden we were transported from a desert landscape to an underwater bed of waving seaweed. I just wish that the works could move on their own so everyone could experience what we saw on the night of the opening.
Roy Jenuine (sculpture) Robert Nelson (drawing) both have stories to tell and allow our imaginations to fill in the blanks although we are directed by the visuals. Jenuine’s small figures holding on to picnic tables in gale force winds generated by drawn desk fans are charming. When grouped with figures in a variety of yoga-like positions all divided into display boxes, or a surfer and his surf board on a pulley with an elaborate water wheel, or a series of dogs of all sizes, we feel we are let into the world of an acute observer of life. Nelson continues his series of finely drawn characters seemingly from his dream world and we enjoyed another chance to see his work which is represented by Noel Baza. Nelson was one of our emerging artists from New Contemporaries III exhibition.
Sasha Koozel Reibstein (ceramics) has her own pharmacological lab in a kiln and has produced capsules for every possible malady. We see them not only suspended but embedded in what looks like body inners. For some reason these look rather pleasant and even humorous but there is a darker novel brewing here.
These artist are only just five of the wonderful talent that is developing in our community. Watch for the show in June of New Contemporaries now in its fifth year and all nominated by art professionals like Karen McGuire.
P.S. You still have time to see the wonderful overstuffed, radically shaped and exquisitely finished works of Lila Jang at Lux Art Institute. Ms. Jang’s misfortune of not being able to travel to SD from Korea is a benefit for us in that Kim MacConnel and Paul Henry have worked in the Lux studio during her show and their work is on display as well until March 3.